Google Aims For Long Term With Its Android One Project
Everyone knows the massive growth in smartphone usage we have witnessed in the last few years and are continuing to do so. The increasing number of smartphone users especially in developing countries offers a great opportunity to Google, Apple, Microsoft and every other company involved in smartphones business.
Google, identifying the opportunity, has taken its first step to attract customers from emerging markets with its “Android One” project. The initiative has two goals — to provide low-cost smartphones to the people in emerging markets, and to create a consistent platform for Android ensuring that people use Google services.
Android One, which was originally announced at Google’s I/O conference in June, was launched in New Delhi, India on Monday. Why India? Because it is the second most populous country after China and is one of the most important emerging markets. Let’s discuss what Google has to offer with this project.
Android One Goal 1 – Cheap Smartphones
Google has partnered with three smartphone manufacturers in India which are Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. Google will be working in collaboration with these companies to create three $100 smartphones — Spice Android One Dream UNO Mi-498, the Micromax Canvas A1 and the Karbonn Sparkle V. Moreover, they have partnered with Bharti Airtel which is the largest mobile carrier in India.
Other global hardware partners for Android One include HTC, Asus, Qualcomm and Lenovo. The initiative has started from India and it will then roll out in Indonesia, Philippines, and South Asia by the end of 2014.
To keep the price as low as $100, the specs have to be reduced but these three smartphones offer decent specs: A 1.3 Ghz quad-core MediaTek processor, 1GB RAM, and 4GB storage with a microSD slot. The display is 4.5-inch FWVGA having 854 x 480 resolution. They will also feature a rear 5mp camera and 1,700 mAh removable battery.
Android One Goal 2 – Consistency in Android Platform
The best argument for Apple fanboys against Android is that the Android platform is fragmented. With Samsung, HTC, and every other manufacturer using its own version of Android and adding another layer of software to keep the brand unique, Android platform has become too much fragmented, meaning that every device has its own version of Android.
Google aims to solve this issue by making its mobile operating system more consistent. All of the low-cost phones that will be released under Android One would run stock Android and all the software would come from Google.
Is it a clear win for Google?
Well, Google is not the only company that is targeting emerging markets. Microsoft has also struck deals with low-cost manufacturers like Micromax and Qualcomm to reduce the price for its Lumia phones, Xiaomi offers a $100 smartphone in India which was a big success, and more companies are also joining the club.
In India, Samsung — which runs a modified version of Android on its phones — is the handset leader. The top smartphone in the country is the Galaxy Star Pro, which sells for $76, according to IDC. The manufacturer’s No. 2 and 3 models are the $130 S2 and the $297 Grand 2. Other companies have also made recent plays in the low-end market. Firefox makes a smartphone that sells for $33.
Facebook has similar plans as the company wants to provide affordable Internet access in markets where people don’t have it through its Internet.org initiative. The social media giant recently launched an app to Airtel customers in Zambia, that will help connect them to a number of online services.
Similarly, Google is also running an initiative called Project Loon, under its ambitious Google X division, which aims to beam Wi-Fi to unwired populations via high-altitude balloons.